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Why Is Pluto Not A Planet
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Scientists have voted and if our solar system were the television show survivor then Pluto just got voted off the island. What it something that the little planet said or did? No. It simply came down to a vote among the scientific community. The short to answer to the question of, "Is Pluto a Planet?" is No, but here is how this decision came to be.

The issue was never with Pluto, now deemed a dwarf planet, rather it was an issue of definitions; specifically the definition of what a planet was and until 2006 we simply did not have a definition.

Why is Pluto not a planet? Let us count the ways. In order to be a planet a celestial body must meet certain criteria. Let's take a look at them now and answer the question, why is Pluto not a planet?

In order to be considered a planet an object must orbit the sun. Pluto certainly does this. Is Pluto a planet? No sir. In fact, if this were the only criteria then we would have thousands of planets. Let's continue on through the criteria and narrow things down.

In order to be considered a planet an object must be large enough to have formed a sphere due to its own gravity. Again, Pluto has done this. Is Pluto a planet? No sir, but we must be getting close, and we continue down the list.

Here is the kicker and the answer to why is Pluto not a planet. To be a planet an object must have cleared the neighbourhood of its own orbit around the Sun. Is Pluto a planet? No, it is not because it has not cleared its neighbourhood. There are many other objects of similar mass to Pluto in its orbit. Pluto is considered a dwarf planet.

More facts on why Pluto is not a planet.

Of the 10,000 or so members of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) only 237 voted in favour of this definition of a planet. Why is Pluto not a planet? Because 237 out of 10,000 people voted for a definition change. It seems a strange way to conduct science.

To further the argument, technically, Neptune, Jupiter, Mars and even Earth do not clear their neighbourhoods either, so they also are not planets.

What other corollary information has contributed the reasoning behind why is Pluto not a planet? Pluto's moon is about half the size of Pluto. Pluto's orbit around the Sun is highly erratic unlike the other planets and Pluto lives in an area of space called the Kuiper belt where many other objects of like size and mass exist.

Is Pluto a planet? At the end of the day, no, technically it is not considered a planet, but in the hearts of many astronomers it will always be so.


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